Ken Campbell made five trips to Grand Junction as the head baseball coach at Walters State (Tennessee) College.
He’ll be back this year with a new role — Hall of Fame member.
Campbell retired from coaching at Walters State after the 2013 season with 650 wins and one national championship, in 2006.
He’s one of four men who will be inducted into the NJCAA Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame at the JUCO World Series tournament banquet on May 22.
“It’s definitely a big honor,” Campbell said in a story posted on the Walters State website. “It’s a great honor to be recognized at the national level for all the hard work that you have put in during your coaching career. Coaching as long as I did, when something like this comes up, it’s a good feeling.”
Lamar Community College’s Scott Crampton, Rick Hitt of South Florida State and Charlie O’Brien of Cecil College (Maryland) will also join the Hall of Fame.
The Senators went 650-162-1 in 15 seasons under Campbell and were frequent qualifiers for the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series, winning their district in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2013, his final season as the head coach. Walters State named its baseball field for Campbell in 2016,.
Crampton rebuilt the Lamar baseball program after taking over in 1993. He retired after the 2018 season after a 1,018-449 record with the Runnin’ Lopes and is now the school’s athletic director.
In 2002, his team finished third at the JUCO World Series, winning a school-record 59 games. He was the Region 9 coach of the year nine times, including five straight seasons, from 2002-2007.
Hitt is not only a baseball coach, winning more than 550 games, he’s been involved as the NJCAA Baseball Coaches Association president, on the All-America committee, and the American Baseball Coaches Association executive committee.
He’s served as a coach six times for the NJCAA National Team. He’s coached at South Florida State since 1998 and has been a coach for 31 years. Hitt played in the JUCO World Series in 1985 while playing at Santa Fe College (Florida), which finished third.
O’Brien took over at Cecil College in 1997 and has won 586 games there and another 136 at Keystone Junior College. He’s a three-time Maryland Junior College Conference coach of the year and a three-time Region 20 coach of the year. He was the 2011 Northeast District coach of the year, guiding the Seahawks to the Division II national tournament.
O’Brien has also worked with the USA National Team, Pan Am Team and Olympic baseball teams, and spent six years as the Maryland Junior College Baseball Coaches Association president.
Another member of the NJCAA Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame, Johnson County Community College (Kansas) coach Kent Shelley, this week announced his retirement, effective at the end of this season. Shelley entered the Hall of Fame in 2007 and has brought the Cavaliers to the World Series twice (2008, 2014).